3-D Gingerbread Trees

Every homemade gingerbread house deserves to have a dazzling display of Christmas trees. Decorate these easy-to-assemble gingerbread cookie trees to your heart’s desire with our quick icing recipe, powdered sugar, and pastel candies.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup molasses
2 eggs
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 recipe Royal Icing

1. In a large bowl combine butter, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and spices. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined. Beat in molasses , eggs, and vinegar. Beat well. Gradually beat in flour. Divide dough into fourths. Wrap each fourth in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour or until no longer sticky. Meanwhile, prepare icing.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using cardboard or parchment paper, cut a tree pattern about 15 inches high and 3 1/2 to 4 inches at base. For smaller trees cut a pattern with 8 inches high and 3 1/2 inches at base.
3. For large trees, on a 15×12-inch piece of parchment, roll one-fourth of dough out to 1/8-inch thickness, covering the entire parchment. Place parchment and dough on a very large flat baking sheet pan. Using a pizza cutter and your pattern, cut 5 triangles the length of the dough, alternating direction of pattern. Discard dough from long edges. For smaller trees, on a 12×8-inch piece of parchment, roll one-eighth of the dough (about 3/4 cup) out to 1/8-inch thickness, covering entire parchment. Cut 6 triangles the width of dough; discard dough from short edges. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until very firm and edges begin to brown. Re-cut the triangles and let cool on the parchment. Repeat with remaining dough.
4. Assemble four triangles together, using stiff Royal Icing at the edges. Decorate the trees as desired with more Royal Icing and pastel candies.

Royal Icing
1 pound powdered sugar (1 box, or about 4 1/4 cups)
2 tablespoons meringue powder or powdered egg whites
1/4 cup water

1.In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, meringue powder and water. Beat on low speed (adding more water as needed), scraping down sides of bowl, until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. (If not using immediately, store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days. Stir before using.)

Makes: 5 large trees or 12 smaller trees

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